Book: Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass

Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass
Erica Kirov
2009 (Sourcebooks)

Nick Rostov has grown up in Las Vegas, living in hotels where his dad performs as a stage magician. On his thirteenth birthday his grandfather gives him something that belonged to his mother, who died when he was just a baby. Then Nick unexpectedly moves in with a whole branch of his family that he didn’t even know existed. They are Russian and own the most fabulous hotel in Las Vegas, The Winter Palace, where it snows all the time! He learns that the magician who performs there, the most famous act in the city, is actually a cousin of his and wants Nick to perform in the show with him. He also learns that unlike his dad’s show, this one uses real magic. And that while the family is fantastic and powerful, there is a branch of it that is equally powerful, but also evil and searching for something. Something Nick might be able to get.

The Eternal Hourglass is the first in the Magickeeper series and so a lot of the story sets up the history and setting, things that won’t need as much establishing later on. A great deal of the tale is centered on the rich Russian history that makes up the family’s past so that while learning that history is definitely giving us a good picture of the family itself, it’s also moving forward the story. This is a big plus for this book because it could very easily have gotten bogged down by that same history, like many first-in-series books do. The setting, the show and Las Vegas itself, serve to keep things grounded in the present when the main character is often getting visions of the past. The two things, the history and the very modern setting, make a surprisingly good pairing.

Kirov is an excellent writer. Her biggest strength is her ability to describe lavish settings without lavish descriptions. This sounds odd, but it actually is a great thing for a book like this. If the descriptions get too detailed and intense they can bog down this type of story, one that is so reliant on different ways of moving forward (from visions in crystal balls to terrifying fight scenes). The settings are very important here, though, and it’s crucial that they don’t get lost or glossed over. Kirov does a great job of balancing these needs and gives us a wonderful idea of what the places described (from the two very different hotels to even the desert itself) look and feel like without ever spending too much time on those descriptions.

I really enjoyed reading this book and I’m very much looking forward to more from this series. It is a creative and unusual story in the incredibly prolific genre that children’s fantasy has become recently. Nick is a fun character and his fantastic family are interesting and full of potential for more amazing stories (especially with all the empty cases in their magic vault). This series has a great magical feel, but is nicely different from much of what is already available. The fantastic setting, creative use of the rich history and skillful writing make this a stand-out title in children’s fantasy.

- Publisher’s Description
- The Official Magickeepers Website

- Erica Kirov’s Blog

- Buy it from Amazon

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